7.1/10
1,171
32 user 8 critic

Three Little Words (1950)

Unrated | | Biography, Comedy, Musical | 12 July 1950 (USA)
The story of the successful Tin Pan Alley songwriting team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby is told loosely and lightheartedly.

Director:

Writer:

(screenplay)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The Robinson family are spending two weeks of summer vacation at a resort in the Catskills. Older daughter Patti vies with her friend, Valeria, for the affections of Demi Armendez but Patti... See full summary »

Director: Roy Rowland
Stars: Jane Powell, Ricardo Montalban, Louis Calhern
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Patricia O'Grady is the daughter of Irish Vaudeville performer, Rosie O'Grady, and is being raised along with her sisters by her father who believes the Vaudeville life contributed to his ... See full summary »

Director: David Butler
Stars: June Haver, Gordon MacRae, James Barton
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A successful but constantly-feuding husband and wife musical comedy team threatens to break up when the wife entertains an offer to become a serious actress.

Director: Charles Walters
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Oscar Levant
Royal Wedding (1951)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Tom and Ellen Bowen are a brother and sister dance act whose show closes in New York. Their agent books them in London for the same period as the Royal Wedding. They travel by ship where ... See full summary »

Director: Stanley Donen
Stars: Fred Astaire, Jane Powell, Peter Lawford
Mr. Imperium (1951)
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

A beautiful singer/dancer turned actress and playboy crown prince turned monarch have their clandestine romance interfered with by their changing circumstances.

Director: Don Hartman
Stars: Lana Turner, Ezio Pinza, Marjorie Main
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Charlie Reader is a successful theater agent. He is also successful with young ladies. One day he is visited by his old friend Joe, married with three children. Joe falls in love with ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Walters
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Debbie Reynolds, David Wayne
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

San Francisco debutante, Jessica Poole, is marrying Napa Valley cattle rancher, Roger Henderson, and hopes her peripatetic father, "Pogo" Poole, whom she hasn't seen for years, comes to the... See full summary »

Director: George Seaton
Stars: Fred Astaire, Lilli Palmer, Debbie Reynolds
Summer Stock (1950)
Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A small-town farmer, down on her luck, finds her homestead invaded by a theatrical troupe invited to stay by her ne'er-do-well sister.

Director: Charles Walters
Stars: Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Eddie Bracken
Bundle of Joy (1956)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Kitschy musical remake of "Bachelor Mother". Debbie Reynolds plays an over-eager clerk in a large department store and Eddie Fisher plays the boss' son. After getting fired from her job, ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Eddie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Adolphe Menjou
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The Acunas, a rich Argentine family, have the tradition that the daughters have to get married in order, oldest first. When sister #1 gets married, sisters #3 and #4 put pressure on Maria, ... See full summary »

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Adolphe Menjou
The Gazebo (1959)
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

TV writer Elliott Nash buries a blackmailer under the new gazebo in his suburban backyard. But the nervous man can't let the body rest there.

Director: George Marshall
Stars: Glenn Ford, Debbie Reynolds, Carl Reiner
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

At breakfast, Jane announces that she and Ralph are getting married the next week. All Jane and Ralph want is a small wedding with the immediate family and no reception. This is because ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Eileen Percy
...
Charlie Kope
...
Terry Lordel
...
Mrs. Carter De Haven (as Gloria De Haven)
...
Himself
Harry Shannon ...
Clanahan
...
...
Al Masters
Carleton Carpenter ...
Dan Healy
George Metkovich ...
Al Schacht
Harry Mendoza ...
Himself (as The Great Mendoza)
Edit

Storyline

Song-and-dance man Bert Kalmar can't continue his stage career after an injury for while, so he has to earn his money as a lyricst. Per chance he meets composer Harry Ruby and their first song is a hit. Ruby gets Kalmar to marry is former partner Jessie Brown, and Kalmar and Jessie prevent Ruby from getting married to the wrong girls. But due to the fact, that Ruby has caused a backer's withdrawal for a Kalmar play, they end their relation. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 July 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Drei kleine Worte  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The real Harry Ruby appears in a bit part as one of the baseball players. He is the one who catches the ball thrown by Red Skelton (as Harry Ruby) and tells "Ruby" to take it easy. See more »

Goofs

During the "Hoofers at Home" dance number, all the dinner-table utensils are swept into a front drawer except for the toaster which crashes to the floor. In the subsequent longer camera shot, the toaster has vanished. See more »

Quotes

Harry Ruby: I got plenty of tunes in me!
See more »

Connections

Featured in That's Entertainment! (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

All Alone Monday
Written by Harry Ruby, Bert Kalmar
Sung by Gale Robbins (later by Arlene Dahl)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Pair Of Normal Fellows
25 February 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Three Little Words purports to tell the story of the fabled songwriting team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby and for the film the unlikely team of Fred Astaire as Kalmar and Red Skelton as Ruby were brought in to star. It's a good thing the real Kalmar and Ruby had a lot more chemistry than Astaire and Skelton do.

But as in all these musical biographies of songwriters, it's the songs that are the real star. Kalmar and Ruby wrote some great ones, no doubt about it. Songs like Nevertheless, Thinking of You, Who's Sorry Now are still sung and will be sung for the next millennium.

Both these guys had their eccentricities, Kalmar fancied himself a magician and Ruby was a big baseball fan. Kalmar wanted to be Mr. Blackstone and Ruby would have swapped every song he ever wrote for a chance to play in the Major Leagues with any of the New York based teams.

Astaire is strangely lacking in dance routines in this film. They are confined to some vaudeville type numbers as befitting the fact that Kalmar was a song and dance man until a knee injury made him turn to writing. Red Skelton's antics were confined to some scenes on the baseball diamond where his good friend, the clown prince of baseball Al Schacht played by infielder George Metkovich provided some good humorous moments for Skelton.

Incidentally one big error in the film identified Al Schacht as a pitcher. Schacht was a catcher, his vaudeville partner was Nick Altrock who was a pitcher and a good one, but he's not in the film.

Arlene Dahl and Vera-Ellen play the women in the lives of Ruby and Kalmar. Vera-Ellen dances well with Astaire and her singing is dubbed by Anita Ellis.

Debbie Reynolds is in this in one of her earliest roles as Boop Boop a Doop singer Helen Kane who did introduce Kalmar and Ruby's I Wanna Be Loved By You. And Gloria DeHaven playing her own mother who died that year and she sings Who's Sorry Now.

Kalmar and Ruby also wrote Groucho Marx's theme, Hooray For Captain Spaulding. I'm still wondering why it was only confined to the two of our leads in rehearsal, why Groucho himself didn't appear. In real life he was a very close friend of Harry Ruby's. Kalmar and Ruby wrote the score for Duck Soup as well and later on they wrote Go West Young Man for Groucho in Copacabana.

The song Three Little Words was NOT introduced on Phil Regan's radio show. It was written by Kalmar and Ruby for the Amos and Andy film Check and Double Check where Duke Ellington and his orchestra played it with the Rhythm Boys singing. They also recorded the song with the Rhythm Boys who were Al Rinker, Harry Barris, and their lead singer, a fellow named Bing Crosby.

Kalmar had passed away when this film was released in 1950. Ruby went on after a fashion. Oscar Hammerstein, II helped finish a Kalmar lyric to a Ruby song that became A Kiss To Build A Dream On which was sung by Louis Armstrong the following year and was a big posthumous hit for half the team. And Harry Ruby wrote the famous television theme to The Real McCoys later on in the Fifties.

Other than their respective avocations for prestidigitation and baseball, Kalmar and Ruby were a pair of normal fellows and led pretty dull lives. But that's the problem when you try to do biographies of people like them. So relax and listen to some really great songs by a pair of normal guys.


9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Need Help with Actor... jaysea2
Vocal score musicone-1
Let's talk about the dancing!! judygenefan
Discuss Three Little Words (1950) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?